Starbucks Connect creates new Munch Money option




Around campus there are many exciting projects that are coming to fruition in the next couple months. Currently, the college is working to integrate a new Starbucks Connect system to be assessable to students and the Alma community.

OnJan.16thefirstpart of the renovations took place which installed the wiring for the system. The installation process will be ongoing until the end of March.

“We are currently about halfway through the install process, this program takes 10 weeks to install and there are a lot of tasks that must be completed with a target date of March 22nd for launch,” said Micah Barman, General Manager of Campus Dining.

“We are waiting on new hardware to be shipped to the location. However, IT related infrastructure is being worked on at this time,” said Barman.

The new system will offer new features for Alma College students to utilize at Starbucks. Students will now be able to use their Starbucks app to remote order their drinks. Additionally, students will be able to use their Starbucks rewards with their Munch Money.

“Alma College Starbucks customers will be able to use the full rewards program. Also, all customers will have access to remote ordering,” said Braman.

Many students are excited for the new additions to Starbucks. Numerous students have been waiting for the opportunity to use their Munch Money with their reward points.

“Since coming here I found it frustrating when I couldn’t use my rewards points with my munch money. I go to Starbucks almost daily and I would be able to save a lot of money through their rewards system,” said Kylie Demarets (‘25).

The Starbucks reward system is a function found on the Starbucks app that allows users to gain stars which are tracked as points. When a user spends a dollar, they receive a star in return. Different amounts of stars grant you different rewards ranging from a free customization of a drink to free select merchandise.

Throughout the year the system grants users special offers such as additional stars on select holidays or exclusive access to personized offers like a free drink on a birthday.

Alongside of the rewards features, the new system will assist baristas to keep up with orders at a faster rate. 

“The program will automate some back of the house tasks to speed up service and ensure better accuracy for customizing beverages,” said Braman.

One major issue that Starbucks employees and customers deal with daily are long lines that accumulate throughout the day. These long lines can create a noisy environment that can be distracting for students who utilize the café space to study.

“The new system I believe will be an effective way to reduce wait time in Starbucks. The new addition of the remote ordering system will help decrease the lines which will bring a quieter environment in the store for people like me who utilize it to study,” said Madison Arnzarut (’23).

“I’m hoping that this doesn’t make things too much harder on the baristas, they already work hard to be sure we get our correct orders and get them in a timely manner. I hope that online ordering and the reward system work out just as well for them as it will for us,” said Aubrey North (‘23).

Overall, the system will create new opportunities for students to utilize munch money while on campus. The progress of the project will be updated for the campus community once the launch date nears closer.

History club: Making their mark at Alma College




The Alma College History Club has been working hard towards making their mark on campus. With the release of new podcast episodes and winning the excellence in inclusion award, 2023 is shaping up to be their year.

“The primary goal behind the history club is simply to have fun researching and discussing history. As I like to say, we’re a place where stories are heard because we focus on whatever members are interested in– especially for the podcast,” said Aubrey North (‘23), president of the History Club at Alma College.

Meetings are held every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in SAC 106. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to stop by.

“We do try to focus more on Alma College’s history and the local history of Gratiot County. With this focus, we provide members full access to the Almanian Archives and try our best to stay in contact with the Gratiot County Historical Museum and Genealogical Library,” said North.

The club was recently awarded the excellence in inclusion award from the Diversity and Inclusion office. This award recognized individuals and groups whose work advanced diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Ultimately, we received the award due to our focus on inclusion in our events and podcast and our ‘genuine interest and dedication to spreading awareness of underrepresented populations and discussing how we can begin to advocate for equality.’ Our events have recognized and discussed the struggles and successes of marginalizedcommunitiesthat the dominant culture has often tried to erase,” said North.

The group has been partnering with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (DI) on events, and the mutual benefit has shown.

“I feel like the office of DI has given us a lot of support over time too, it’s just a really fantastic relationship,” said Professor Benjamin Peterson, Lecturer of History and Political Science and faculty advisor for the History Club at Alma College.

A key focus of the club is producing their podcast, Alma College Histories and Mysteries. Two episodes have been released so far this calendar year.

“Our first episode released on Jan. 19 and shares the oral history of Alice Kramer as she reflects on her time at Alma as a student and [a member of the staff] Our [second] episode [came] out on Feb. 2 and features an interview with retiring professor, Nicholas Dixon as he reflects on his 36 year at the college, retirement and the life of a philosophy professor,” said North.

Podcasts are on the rise and are a great way for the group to relate with others in the Alma community. “It provides a new way for people to connect, not just to history as a whole, but [also] to the history and tradition of Alma College and Alma, Michigan… [It] allows them to reflect on that,” said Peterson. 

Additionally, it is a tangible product of the group’s work and will be out in the world forever. “It continues to exist, and people can continue to go back to it. That’s what I think is particularly cool about it as a medium,” said Peterson.

“We release episodes every other Thursday on Anchor, Spotify and Stitcher,” said North.

The podcast is not the only thing the group has to focus on, however, as they are constantly working to grow their presence as a group on campus.

“We try to host one event a month, try to take one field trip a semester and continue to produce content for the podcast. We do our best to hold events related to a specific history or heritage month… This semester we’ll be collaborating with the Alma Connection Project to host an event for National Arab American Heritage Month,” said North.

Students can get involved in the group in many different ways, it really is catered to everyone. “History club came about because the history department wanted one. What history club is is determined by the students in history club,” said Peterson

“If you have anything you’d like us to make a podcast episode on or even want to make a podcast episode yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to [Aubrey North], Dr. Peterson or Madison Hall. Additionally, if you’re a senior and would like to record an interview reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic at Alma College, reach out to the above-mentioned contacts to set up a time and place,” said North.

“On March 11th, we will visit the Michigan History Center in Lansing. We will cover the costs of admission and dinner in the area. Please email [] to reserve one of our fifteen spots! More information to come soon,” said North.

New membership system at Stone Rec Center



New year, new upgrades. The start of the year marked the arrival of a new membership system for the Stone Recreation Center. This system, RecDesk, will provide a digital platform for scheduling, programs and membership information. 

“The reason we switched to this is because… it gives us more functionality with memberships on the backend like getting more information from our members and … also allows us to send bulk emails [and] text messages,” said Dahmir Noel, Assistant Athletic Director for Recreation and Facilities at Alma College. 

One of the key features of this new platform is the digital calendar option. “Without even being logged in it shows you which courts are being used, when the rock wall is open, when the pool is open, when intramurals are happening [and] all of those different things,” said Noel. 

If you like working out at slower times or are interested in using a specific space within the recreation center, RecDesk may be a positive addition for you. “Now you’re not just showing up, you can check it,” said Noel. 

It is important to remember there is often an adjustment period when adopting new systems. Students, faculty, staff and community members are all working to get their memberships set up properly.

“There [have] been some challenges, but right now we’re starting to really see that more and more people are getting on there and know what they are doing with the system,” said Noel. 

“The only [issue] I ran into with the new member system was not being informed that there was one. I showed up to work out one day and they told me I had to make a new account,” said Sawyer Hill (‘23)

It can be challenging to adjust to change, however, once you set your membership up there shouldn’t be much of a difference for you. “You’re still checking in the same way… The only difference now… is we put more on the consumer to do a lot of the setup on the front end,” said Noel. 

For students, faculty and staff, this membership is still free. “If you enroll in the proper membership, you should get it for four years,” said Noel. 

RecDesk also offers ease with renewal. “It tells you when you’re about to expire [and] all you have to do is enroll again,” said Noel. 

Fitness classes will continue this semester with some possible new additions. These classes are free to students, faculty and staff and require minimal commitment with no signup required.

This semester, the classes offered are Power Hour/HIIT with Tessa from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Cardio Drumming with Tincy from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Wednesdays and Gentle Yoga with Shana 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. 

“We’re going to try to get some of our older community members who play pickleball a lot in here to potentially offer a class for beginners,” said Noel. This would be a great opportunity for campus and community connections not previously available. 

Club sports could be another addition to the recreation services on campus in the future. A club sports survey has been released on social media to gauge interest in this. 

“We’re attacking this from a perspective of being as inclusive as we can be. We don’t want to say, ‘Oh, this sport works at Adrien or Albion so let’s just bring it here.’ We want to figure out what people really want and then if it’s feasible to do,” said Noel. 

It’s important the addition fits our campus culture and will be appreciated by the students. “The last thing you want, too, is to create a club and [then] no one really cares about it… A club is supposed to be students–for the students, by the students,” said Noel.

Follow @almacollegerec on Instagram to get updates and engage with their discussions. Students can access RecDesk, the fitness class schedule and more information about campus recreation here: https://www.

Alma College celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day




On Monday, Jan. 15, classes paused in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Campus, however, remained active as students, faculty and community members participated in activities to celebrate and reflect MLK’s life. 

The day kicked off with a campus and community brunch in Art Smith Arena that featured speeches, music and awards. As the campus and community came together, the key focus was how we can continue to act through service. 

Students on Alma College’s campus are exposed to service opportunities regularly, but this event allowed a different opportunity for engagement.

“Our key message was that we should be engaging in service activities in a deeper way rather than treating service as a one- and-done sort of activity. We tried to have programs throughout the day that brought more awareness to the participants,” said Julia Dang, Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Alma College.

“I was moved by the presence and attentiveness of the audience. Seeing students, faculty and professors alike, all motivated to grow in understanding, speaks great volumes to the priority of the Alma College community as it applies to diversity and inclusion,” said Claire Peterson (‘23).

This is an important reminder of the power we have as a campus and community. When we all turn our heads toward a common goal or issue, we can learn and accomplish so much more. 

“We hope from this experience that students are able to see how important it is to be aware of some of the positions that folks around us are in—even folks that are sitting beside us every day,” said Dang. 

“When we’re in positions where we have privilege, it’s so important to leverage that and be able to support those who are struggling. Sometimes, it’s giving up your time for  service, and sometimes it’ll be dedicating some time to furthering your understanding,” said Dang. 

MLK Day is not just a time to reflect, but a chance to learn and grow. An integral way students participated in this brunch was through music. The choir performed two pieces: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “Say Her Name.”

“To me, both of these songs are meant to bring continuous awareness… awareness that our world is still not where it should be. We are not yet created equal if there are citizens out there living in fear of those who are meant to protect us and keep us safe,” said Jennifer Dake (‘24).

Music is a powerful tool for communication. It provides an outlet for expression that may not be possible otherwise. This is especially important when its focus is on social justice. 

“Music allows people to express their feelings in a creative way. For me, singing these two songs for MLK day is my way to show and express to people the importance of these issues. I am not always the best at talking about social or political issues, so music is easier for me. I can feel and put a lot of emotion into what I am singing,” said Dake.

The brunch also provided an opportunity for individuals and organizations to be recognized for their work to advance diversity and inclusion. The Excellence in Inclusion award was handed out to a student, faculty and staff member along with community and campus organizations. 

The community engagement fair promoted campus and community service opportunities. 

Students could explore the tables to gain more information about these organizations and sign up for communication about future service opportunities. In the afternoon, various sessions were held for programs centered around oppression and inequality. These sessions included the Poverty Simulation, Illustrating the Dream, MLK gallery walk and the Gender-Affirming Closet.

“When you’re serving without the context of the why then your efforts might feel only surface level. On the other hand, when you’re able to truly elaborate on how different communities have been affected by socially unjust systems of oppression, it gives your entire experience more depth,” said Dang.

Each afternoon program was aimed to allow for this elaboration and give more hands-on opportunities for education.

Additional activities throughout the week included the Blood Drive on Monday, Jan. 16, Hilson History Slam on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and the 2023 Unity Celebration on Friday, Jan. 20.

If you missed these events, or are interested in attending more diversity and inclusion programs, there are more upcoming opportunities.

“[In] the month of February, many of our programs will be geared toward Black History Month topics. Black Student Union has a huge part in helping us organize and host events,” said Dang.

The full schedule of Black History Month events can be found on the campus calendar.

Ticketmaster’s Swift catastrophe



The recent Taylor Swift, “TheErasTour,” ticket sale has caused me, and many others across the country, a lot of frustration. Ticketmaster headed the sale but failed to moderate the massive demand for the tickets. 

Swift announced the first leg of “The Eras Tour” on Nov. 1 with 27 stadium tour dates across the United States. Three days later, she added another eight shows that were to be followed by an additional 17 the next week. The addition of shows makes it clear how high of a demand was expected. Even prior to the tour being announced, fans were speculating it would be hard to get tickets, especially considering this is Swift’s first tour in seven years. 

On Nov. 15, Ticketmaster hosted the TaylorSwiftTix Presale. Despite following all the instructions, there seemed to be some issues. When I got to the front of the queue, I got an error message and was kicked out. Then, the queue didn’t seem to be moving. 

However, this didn’t appear to be an issue only on my end. “Some fans faced a myriad of error messages, while others endured an hours- long wait in Ticketmaster’s virtual queue, only to find there were no reasonably priced tickets left,” said Laura McQuillan of CBC News. 

In a statement on Twitter on the day of the presale, Ticketmaster said, “There has been historically unprecedented demand with millions showing up to buy tickets for the TaylorSwiftTix Presale.” 

If they were the ones who sent out the codes to access the sale, how were there too many people trying to purchase the tickets? Other fans have noticed issues with their presale code methods as well. 

“I noticed that a lot of people had gotten presale codes. Ticketmaster had said whoever had tickets to her previous tour, which was canceled due to COVID-19, were going to get priority in getting the presale codes, and I know a lot of people who had those tickets did not get those codes,” said Kara Sutherland (‘24)

I thought I would still have the chance to secure tickets at the general sale planned for Nov. 18. This was not the case. Unfortunately, many fans never got the chance to try for tickets as Ticketmaster ended up canceling it.

Following the presale and cancellation of the general sale, I saw a lot of distraught fans in my media feeds. Even fans who got tickets were not entirely pleased with the process.  

“I feel like the sticker price of the tickets were reasonably priced, but with dynamic pricing and also Ticketmaster fees, they got to be really expensive and much more than what people were expecting,” said Sutherland. 

Swift even expressed frustration when she released an apology and statement to her fans. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them,” said Swift. 

I appreciate the message assuring fans and that she is aware of the issues that occurred. However, it doesn’t account for the fact that massive amounts of tickets are being resold for alarmingly high rates. 

“I find that the Taylor Swift presales have been worse than I have ever seen before, especially with lots of resellers marking tickets up to $50,000… This was especially disheartening because fans were promised affordable tickets between $49-500,” said Kimberlyn Hollon-Morseau (’23).

Ticketmaster also released an apology following these events. “Historically, we’ve been able to manage huge volume coming into the site to shop for tickets, so those with Verified Fan codes have a smooth shopping process. However, this time the staggering number of bot attacks, as well as fans who didn’t have codes, drove unprecedented traffic on our site,” said Ticketmaster. 

Many fans seem to agree with this narrative, and I had never had serious issues using the platform to purchase tickets previously. 

“I have gotten other tickets from Ticketmaster and the experience was so much easier and smoother than these tickets,” said Kylee Lary (‘24). 

Additionally, the bot situation still raises serious concerns. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn are trying to get some answers about it by writing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chair, Lina Kahn. 

“Given the numerous high-profile incidents in the online ticket marketplace, it would be helpful to understand how the FTC intends to act to address such conduct going forward,” said Blumenthal and Blackburn in the letter. 

In the end, many fans got tickets, and many did not, which is not uncommon for popular artists. It will be interesting to see how the resale prices change as the current cheapest option is close to $600 for nosebleed seats, excluding ticket vendor fees.

Mental health resources at Alma College



Alma College is welcoming back the old tradition of therapy dog and rescue kitten events. Students can now also schedule light therapy, Let’s Talk sessions and use of a massage chair through the Wilcox Health Center.

Mental health concerns have been on the rise and many college campuses are seeing the impacts. Luckily, Alma has increased their resources and has a variety of therapeutic options for students.

“The Wilcox Health Center has a Wellness Room with a Light Therapy box. Light therapy has been found to be an effective method in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder,” said Anne Lambrecht, Associate Vice President of Student Life and Director of Counseling and Health at Alma College.

“The process is easy and the benefits great. The individual sits in front of a light box for a specific amount of time, usually 20-30 minutes. Response usually starts in a few days and by two weeks the symptoms usually improve, and most people need to continue light therapy throughout the winter,” said Lambrecht.

Another option is to schedule a low-commitment appointment with one of our counselors. “Let’s Talk is a 15-minute meeting with a Mental Health Counselor,” said Lambrecht.

“Counselors can listen to specific problems, help explore solutions and introduce you to what it’s like to speak with a member of our staff,” said Lambrecht. This is a great way to test out counseling and gain a listening ear.

Many students were especially excited to hear about the animal events returning. “Being away from home is extremely difficult for some students, and part of the reason is being away from the pets/animals that they have at home,” said Taylor Stenger (‘24).

“I wanted to attend because I love how playful kittens can be, and they are just loving creatures,” said Sydney Rudolph (‘24).

“I think that the event was very beneficial for students across campus. Everyone that attended seemed to be in good spirits and knowing that we were bringing joy to animals really makes the experience that much better,” said Stenger.

“For me personally, it was a nice reason to leave my room and get out of my own head a little. As far as an actual stress reliver though, I found more enjoyment from the therapy dog events,” said Adam Short (‘24). Whether you are a cat or a dog person, there is an event available for you.

“Studies have shown that a person holding or petting an animal will cause a lowering of blood pressure, the release of strain and tension and can draw out a person from loneliness and depression,” said Lambrecht.

While these new additions and returning events are great, students also have ideas of other events that could be held.

“I think more events focused on practicing coping skills could be a great way to bring people together, remind them they are not alone and allow students to leave with practical skills they can continue using,” said Short.

“I think if we did music therapy, a lot of people would attend as long as it is well advertised,” said Rudolph.

“Zumba nights or yoga nights would be super beneficial for students,” said Stenger.

There is another, new, upcoming event planned. “Wednesday, November 16th from 5:00-6:15 pm at the Wilcox Health Center: Grieving Through the Holidays is an educational and support group for those struggling with grief and loss through the holiday season. This group is free and open to students experiencing any type of loss or grief. Please sign up by emailing Molly Pocsi at pocsime@,” said Lambrecht.

Students can sign up for light therapy or massage chairs by visiting: https://titanium. The password is almaCWC.

Student-wide CSO resources




The Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) has support services aimed to enrich students’ time at Alma. These services, along with other programs hosted within the CSO, focus on fostering both academic and personal success.

Study tables hosted by a King-Chávez-Parks First Year Mentor (KCP mentor) is one option available to students on campus. These are hosted every Thursday and Sunday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the CSO.

“Study tables [are] open to all students on campus, they do not have to sign up or do anything prior; just show up,” said Chetara Knight (‘24), the KCP mentor who hosts the study tables.

“My goal is to provide a space for students to feel comfortable studying together and getting work done,” said Knight.

The library renovations have limited the study spaces on campus, making this a great alternative for people who like to work alongside others. “It can be a silent time for students, but we also encourage everyone to work together and make the environment warm, easygoing and productive,” said Knight.

This is currently a small group of students, so if you think it would be a good fit stop by. “We usually have the same turnout of about 4-6 students. We are looking for more students to attend,” said Knight.

The Office for Student Success is here for students seeking academic support or disability services. Personalized plans can be set up for students’ success.

“We help students with study strategies and time management techniques and can meet one-on-one regularly to help students stay accountable,” said Virginia Blandford, Academic support coordinator at Alma College.

Tutoring is also available through this department, free to any student. “Our hope is that [tutee’s] benefit from having a peer who has ‘been there’ to answer content questions and offer advice on how to be successful in the course,” said Blandford.

The Office of Career and Personal Development also has set up various resources to help fit students’ needs.

“Career and Personal Development offers a variety of ways to connect, including workshops, alumni networking, career fairs and other events,” said Brittany Stoneman, Associate Director of Career and Personal Development at Alma College.

“For individualized appointments, we offer a broad range of appointment types on topics such as resumes and cover letters, mock interviews, personal statement prep, job search strategies or even major and career exploration,” said Stoneman.

In addition to scheduling an appointment on Handshake, Drop-in Career Peer hours are available. Located in the CSO, Library or Starbucks, this option allows students to drop in during designated times Tuesday through Friday. 

“Drop-in sessions are open hours staffed by our Career Peers, and typically cover document review and support. The primary difference is that with scheduling an appointment via Handshake, you pre-arrange the meeting time and appointment type (topic),” said Stoneman.

These services are completely customized to the student’s needs, and you can be at any stage in the process to reach out for help. “We work to meet students where they are, whether they have no idea where to start or they are seeking feedback on finished materials,” said Stoneman.

If you aren’t sure where to start or are scared about reaching out keep in mind these resources are here and meant for students use.

“Asking for help is never a sign of weakness, rather a sign of wisdom to know when your limits are being tested,” said Blandford.

“I think the first step is to reach out – come to an event, stop by, or schedule an appointment to begin the conversation. College is a time of exploration in so many ways and it really is okay to not know where to start. For personal development, two tools we highly recommend are CliftonStrengths and PathwayU,” said Stoneman.

Students can access CliftonStrengths and PathwayU here: Links to an external site.

Student’s safety: Unlocked doors on south campus



Student’s safety is a top priority for many college campuses and Alma is no different. Recently, however, a safety concern arose as students reported doors on south campus being left unlocked.

All student housing requires either a pin or key card to gain access, making it easy to restrict access to students and their guests. Certain doors on south campus were not requiring students to scan their ID, meaning anyone could walk in.

“I’ve seen the side door to Carey be unlocked. I haven’t heard about any other doors, but I could be wrong,” said Ruby Lovasz (‘23). Unfortunately, this has been an ongoing issue since the second week of classes.

“The first few weeks of school, it was only on the weekends, but last week, there were a few weekdays it happened as well. It’s been a week since I’ve seen anything unlocked so I’m guessing the issue is fixed,” said Lovasz.

“I’ve seen the doors unlocked, and most of the time it was during the day. It has happened at random all through September. They will be locked on some days and unlocked on others” said Julia Gotaas (‘24).

With the doors cycling between locked and unlocked it made it hard for students to know when the door was actually fixed. A few days could go by with no issues and then the door would be unlocked again.

“We did have an issue with the two main entrances of Carey not locking as there was some issue with the card swipe access readers, but I believe we resolved the issue in working with Campus Safety and Facilities” said JD Copus, Assistant Director for Residence Life at Alma College.

This issue was very unsettling for many students living on south campus. Luckily, the issue should be resolved, and doors should be locked from here on out.   

“I don’t have any exact dates, but I noticed the doors unlocked on 9/11/2022 and then followed up with Facilities and Campus Safety that week” said Copus.

“There had been issues with the doors over the [first] several weeks and trying to ensure that the doors stayed locked. I went over to Carey Hall today and all doors were locked correctly as of 9/28/2022.” said Copus.

The main concern many students had with the doors being unlocked was their safety. Without limited access anyone could walk into the building.

“Living in a building with unlocked doors makes me feel quite unsafe. Particularly considering that since our dorms are located on the southern part of campus and are nearer to the community homes,” said Gotaas.

“I definitely feel safer on the days that I see the doors are locked; however, I haven’t felt particularly unsafe. Although there was an issue with the doors not locking, there are always cameras facing the doors, I feel that the area is pretty well lit, and campus safety makes multiple rounds every night,” said Lovasz.

This is a great reminder that we do have various precautions on campus to ensure students safety. While locked doors are a major concern other monitoring systems are in place to keep us secure.

“Students should contact Campus Safety at 989-463-7777 if they have issues with doors being unlocked or issues getting into buildings” said Copus but, “if students still have concerns or notice that doors aren’t locking properly, they can contact me directly as well.”

“If students ever don’t feel safe on campus, Campus Safety is there to provide that assistance. Campus Safety does a lot of great work like escorts around campus, jump start vehicles, allowing students into buildings, etc.” said Copus.

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